The Ring of Brodgar – Orkney

Date of Visit August 1989

Location: 6 miles NE of Stromness, Orkney

If I had to pick a favourite stone circle out of the ones I have visited it would have to be the Ring of Brodgar. I think its a combination of setting and how remote it is plus when I last visited there were very few visitors around. During the few days we spent on Orkney we visited the site three times and each time we felt we saw a different circle. The first time we visited was during the day (this was when the photographs on this page were taken) The second time we visited was when it was dark. On the way we passed the stones at Stenness where someone was taking photographs using his car headlights to illuminate the scene. 

I think it was after this visit that I had a strange feeling that something was following us as we drove away. We’d parked up and walked around the circle by the light of the moon and then got back into the car and headed back to the campsite. As I drove off I was absolutely certain that something was following us, so much so that I kept looking in my rear view mirror to check there was nothing behind us. I couldn’t see anything but I still felt there was something there. In fact the feeling was so strong it stayed with me for years and it took ages for me to stop thinking that all the bad luck we had over the next few years wasn’t caused by whatever followed us home that night. 

Despite this we were still drawn to the circle and on the morning we were leaving we decided that after we’d packed the tent away we would drive up for one final visit. This time a mist had descended and the whole site looked very mystical. It was quite sad when the time came for us to leave and head back to catch the ferry back to the mainland. 

One more weird thing that happened during the visit was that although my (then) wife took lots of photographs on the point and shoot camera we had with us when we got the film back from the developers there was only one picture of the ring, one taken from a distance just as we got there,

The Ring of Brodgar (or Brogar, or Ring o’ Brodgar) is a Neolithic henge and stone circle in Orkney, Scotland. Most henges do not contain stone circles; Brodgar is a striking exception, ranking with Avebury (and to a lesser extent Stonehenge) among the greatest of such sites. It’s the most northern site of it’s kind in the British Isles, the stone circle is 341 ft in diameter, and the third largest in the British Isles. Unlike Avebury and Stonehenge there are no stones within the circle but that doesn’t mean that other structures couldn’t have existed there.

The ring originally comprised up to 60 stones, of which only 27 remained standing at the end of the 20th century. The tallest stones stand at the south and west of the ring, including the so-called “Comet Stone” to the south-east. The stones are set within a circular ditch up to 9.8 ft deep, 30 f) wide and 1,250 ft in circumference that was carved out of the solid sandstone bedrock by the ancient residents. Technically, this ditch does not constitute a true henge as there is no sign of an encircling bank of earth and rock. Many archaeologists continue to refer to this structure as a henge. The ditch appears to have been created in sections, possibly by workforces from different parts of Orkney. The stones may have been a later addition, maybe erected over a long period of time

info from Wikipedia

Megalithic Portal

Modern Antiquarian

Historic Scotland


The image below was one of the black and white photos I took in 1989 but that I have since colourised: